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Spice Cake with Sea Foam Frosting

This is adapted from an old prize winner from the L.A. County Fair. I've tested it a couple of times and have found it's best to sift the cake flour after measuring or weigh out 270 grams.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Sea Foam, Spice Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Cooling 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 48 minutes
Servings 12
Cost 5


  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour sifted after measuring (270 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each - cloves and ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of mace optional
  • 3/4 cup shortening, butter flavor or regular or a mix
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (190 grams)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (150 grams)
  • 3 large eggs room temp
  • 1 cup buttermilk ****
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sea Foam Frosting

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (300 grams)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • caramel sauce (Like Hershey's Sundae Sauce)
  • Cinnamon Chips


  • Sift together pre-sifted flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in salt and spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper, and mace if using). Set aside.
  • In a bowl, using medium speed electric mixer, beat shortening and both sugars until mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg. Using a mixing spoon or lowest speed of blender, add flour and buttermilk/vanilla mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.
  • Divide batter evenly between two cake pans and bake for 28 minutes (up to 33) or until cake tests done with a wooden skewer or pick (moist crumbs/no batter). Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks.
  • Prepare sea foam frosting. Put some water in bottom of a double boiler and bring to a simmer. In the top of the double boiler, Combine egg whites, light brown sugar, and 1/3 cup water. Set the top of the double boiler over the bottom.  Alternatively, use a metal bowl (preferably one that goes with a stand mixer) and just prop it over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Using a hand held mixer (one hand holding mixer, other hand holding bowl with a hot pad to keep it still), beat until soft peaks form. This should take about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and salt; continue beating until it is spreadable.
  • Spread icing over top of one of the cooled cakes. Stack the second cake on top. Cover entire cake. Drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with cinnamon chips.
  • Note: Original recipe called for 3 (9 inch) round layers, but I prefer thicker layers of cake and used 2.


If you have buttermilk powder, you can use 1/4 cup of buttermilk powder (mix it with the dry ingredients) and 1 cup of water in place of the 1 cup buttermilk.